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By Giulio Preti

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It’s been seven months since my fellow refugees and I have attempted our escape from the American nowhere. Many of the people I had started out with have since left; some have left, returned, only to leave again (and then return); new passengers, shipwrecked far from the mainland on decaying planks have climbed onto the deck. The group that first boarded and remains aboard is small. Forty, maybe fifty … In the seven months since our Occupation, we have watched our society and our home in Zuccotti be brutally destroyed; we’ve been forced to wander out into the winter exiles; we have sheltered in churches, vacant homes and hostels until we found ourselves facing their closed doors; we have slept outside along the walls of banks and then at the seeping sore of the great historical ulcer on the corner of Wall Street and Nassau until one morning bullhorns announced that the law has come and that the law says that the Law can go Fuck itself: what’s a judge’s robe and some books got on a gun and bullhorn, anyway?

Instead, the bananas must be exported to America after harvest and then reimported to the country at which point they can legally be sold in the markets. During Angola’s decades-long civil war, American oil and gas conglomerate Chevron-Texaco paid for rebels to invade and seize resources from the tiny enclave of Cabinda at the same time as they paid the Angolan military to defend their rigs from those rebels in neighboring regions. In India, farmers who were long accustomed to buying seed that would regrow naturally, allowing them to produce seeds for subsequent crops, were sold genetically engineered seed that died off after one season.

These 18th and 19th century companies, such as the Dutch East India Company and the British East India Company, divvied up the spoils of exploration and subsequent colonization. It is darkly ironic that conservative pundits hold Adam Smith in such high regard when Smith was steadfastly against the huge charter companies and their colonial exploits during his time. The situation created by this economic paradigm is occasionally made manifest in surreal and often violent circumstances. Farmers in Honduras, for example, cannot bring their bananas to market directly in their home country because of agreements in place between the government and the US-based United Fruit Company.

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Retorica e logica. Le due culture by Giulio Preti

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